Social Distemper by Al Sikes

The Iraqis have a constitution, as do the Afghans. Both are relatively new and influenced by the United States. Yet, it would be hard to find anyone that believes Iraq’s or Afghanistan’s Constitutions have secured and stabilized those countries. Both countries are fraught with deep divisions; neither have cultures that yield readily to a stable constitutional democracy.

Culture is the hinge. In a constitutional democracy, bereft of civility, the way forward is difficult at best. Incivility is an attack on the very institutions we have so long celebrated—take a look at the latest polling on confidence in America’s foundation.

Today’s battle over Supreme Court nominations underscores the impotence of the Congress and too expansive interpretations by the Supreme Court. Both right and left believe their ultimate aims will be determined more by Courts than legislative actions. And, the last two Presidents have relied more on executive orders than prevailing with a legislative agenda.

Deep divisions did not start with President Trump nor will his defeat end them. He has, however, amplified divisions by his win/lose confrontations. Trump seems only satisfied when shaming the opposition. He, in particular, has sowed social distemper and we have only sour fruits to harvest.

Each public policy or election campaign battle is fought like the ultimate battle. Cycles of opinions, however, preclude that result; America is not owned by the right or left. Lawmaking is at its best when reason prevails; political battles thrive on passion, the antipode of reason.

I have been particularly alarmed by the power-seeking clergy. My religious tradition is replete with warnings about seeking power over love. Yet, the successor to Billy Graham, his son, is quick to attack in the pursuit of temporal power. The Church cannot win political wars; its doctrines can only prevail when it is true to its scriptures and its actions therefore show the world a winsome face.

And speaking of religions it is now, on the Left, an article of faith that some cluster of white men cannot find reason. I am all in favor of diversity, but find a construct that ultimately undermines our Constitution, a product of emotion not reason. The Founding Fathers were, after all, mainly a cluster of white men often drawing on the philosophic wisdom of white men.

I have no idea when the fever will pass or for that matter if it will. The causes of the fever will require strong medicine and in public affairs that means leadership. How many leaders, not pretenders, are prepared to be candidates in a political world where human frailty is weaponized and policy positions, aimed at Congressional resolution, are attacked by the Party’s base as being weak and accommodative?

Candidates in the weeks ahead will be pressed on the issues of the day. To me the biggest issue of the day is whether compromise is a necessary principle of first rank in our Democracy.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

A Campaign for Craft by Craig Fuller

Readers of the Spy know full well that an election is approaching this November. Our airwaves will fill with political ads and street corners will see signs for candidates filling all space available.

Into this environment those of us engaged in launching the 21st Annual Craft Show at the Academy Art Museum must bravely go. Rather than resist, we decided to embrace the spirit of the time with early stickers for car windows and store windows (Thank you Piazza for being the first!). Later look for our Meet the Artist lawn signs!

When we ask people to Vote Early! And, Vote Craft! we want you to do two important things: vote with your feet and attend the Craft Show on October 19-21; and, check out our first-ever online version of the Show, Dazzled Online.

The Academy Art Museum Craft Show celebrates the 70 artists who are coming to Easton from around the country bringing the product of their creative talents. We will be reaching out over the weeks ahead through Dazzled Online to tell the stories of our featured artists and to show people the quality of the work that will be available at the Craft Show and through the online auction.

You can stay in touch with developments over the next few weeks by registering now at Dazzled Online and when the auction goes live on October 1st, we hope you will consider placing a bid or two.

All proceeds from Dazzled Online and from the Craft Show go to the Academy Art Museum to assist in the fulfillment of the mission.

Craig Fuller remains a regular commentator at the Spy, but he is taking time to serve as Chairman of the 2018 Academy Art Museum Craft Show. He is also a Trustee of the Museum.

A Republican’s View of Jesse Colvin and His Candidate For Congress by Philip Webster

I am a lifelong Republican, as was my father before me, but I am now working hard to elect Jesse Colvin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District of Maryland.

I have decided it is time to place Country before Party in the First District race. For nearly eight years, I have been baffled and disillusioned by the policy positions, votes, behavior and affiliations of Rep. Harris. The list is endless: His membership in the Freedom Caucus that has been obstructionist rather than helpful; his support for foreign leaders who are not America’s friends; his positions and statements on the Bay, the environment, healthcare reform, the truthfulness of the media, trade, immigration, aid for natural catastrophes and gun violence; his lack of leadership in the Congress, where he is held in such lack of regard that no one has made him a Committee leader; and his lack of any major legislative initiative during his entire tenure.

I am bothered by Rep. Harris’ invisibility to his constituents, either in person or in communications. He seems scared of us. I have met, seen or spoken to eight American presidents – Democrats and Republicans – in my public affairs career. But I never see Rep. Harris, who seems almost never to leave his office, particularly to visit the Eastern Shore. And his communications to his constituents is either non-existent or baffling.

So I have now decided it is time to put Country before Party as far as my Congressman is concerned. I have also decided it is time to begin to vote for individuals who are committed to public service, rather than their own self-interest, regardless of what race, gender, background and political party they belong to.

Which brings me to Jesse Colvin, with whom I have spent several hours, in person, in give and take sessions with his future constituents, and on the telephone chatting about policy and issues. I like what I see.

First, I like Jesse’s background. He graduated from a top and tough school – Duke University – which is a very competitive place in which to succeed. He decided not to chase the big corporate dollars and did what few Duke graduates do, entering the U.S. Army and a life of service to his country, doing four tours in

Afghanistan as an Army Ranger officer fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban. He returned to Columbia University to learn how policies are made, and then investigated fraud and other illegal activity on Wall Street.

Second, I like Jesse’s innate and engrained leadership traits and his sense of service. As an Army veteran, I understand what serving with others from all backgrounds in sometimes dangerous situations is like. It is a transforming experience that builds leaders. We need more young veterans in Congress. They have “the right stuff”.

Third, I like Jesse’s attributes. He is modest with self-deprecating humor. He is smart as a whip, incisive in his thinking. He listens to you before he talks. He cares about your problems and issues. He is a moderate person, as are most of my Republican, Democratic and Independent friends in the First District. He believes in compromise and getting things done. While he is running as a Democrat, he is really running as a non-partisan American.

Fourth, I like Jesse’s values. He has learned to run at the problem, not away from it. He is action- and results-oriented. He is not focused on criticism or ideology, but on finding solutions that help his constituents and help his country. He will lead with strength and compassion, something you learn when you are at war. He is honest and truthful. He is a family man, smart enough to marry a Republican woman who is a leader in her own right, and now a young father, with a big stake in assuring the next generation enjoys America’s freedoms and opportunities.

I am finding many disenchanted Republicans and Independents, who are joining me in supporting Jesse Colvin, a candidate many have called a Servant Leader, one who will serve his constituents and his country through enlightened non-partisan leadership, not self-interest. I encourage my First District neighbors to join us.

Philip J. Webster of St. Michaels has been the Eastern Shore Chairman, Trustee or Committee Chair of the Avalon Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, Aspen Wye Fellows, Christ Church – St. Michaels, Aspen Institute Wye River Campus, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Miles River Yacht Club Foundation, Chesapeake Music and ShoreRivers. He was an officer of three New York Stock Exchange-listed companies and two international consulting firms.

Out and About (Sort of): Shore Welcomes Franklin Foe by Howard Freedlander

After listening to the excellent Spy interview last week regarding William Smith, founder of Washington College in Chestertown, I couldn’t help but focus on the underlying challenges faced by a college president in the late 1700s and by a provost, typically the second highest position on a modern college or university campus.

Before playing a major role in founding Washington College, the 26-year-old Smith served as the first provost in 1756 at the newly founded Academy and College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania).

For full disclosure, the inestimable Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s founders, helped establish the Academy and College. He is one of my heroes. The university that he helped spawn is my alma mater.

Here are lessons learned from listening to the interview with Colin Dickson, an English professor at Washington College:

• A provost ought not to engage in politics, particularly during the years leading up to a revolution when passions were taking seed and blossoming into animated partisanship. Smith was a British loyalist and friend of the Penn family, the proprietors of the colony. Because of his politics, Smith clashed with Franklin, when the latter was board president and then an influential board member. Franklin was a vocal opponent of William and Thomas Penn and eventually an ardent Revolutionary leader.

It’s regrettable that the decades-long relationship between Franklin and Smith frayed. For many years, they were very close intellectually. They even traveled together in America and London raising money for the Academy and College of Philadelphia.

• A provost or university president ought not to cross swords with the president (now called the chair) of the board of trustees, nor board members sympathetic to the president/chair. It’s bad for longevity. William Smith, with his strong Tory ties, was dismissed from his job. He then took his drive, intelligence and educational philosophy to what became Washington College.

When recruited to the new school in Philadelphia, Smith had headed King’s College (now Columbia University). He was a graduate of St. Andrew’s in Scotland.

• Then, as now, a college or university leader must raise money, and so Smith did, as I noted. In fact, he persuaded General George Washington to donate 50 guineas to the new college. I wonder, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, whether Smith offered “naming rights” to the esteemed general for his contribution. Smith also knew where to seek money on the Eastern Shore, convincing Talbot County’s Goldsboroughs and Tilghmans and Queen Anne’s County’s Pacas to donate to create the college in Chestertown.

• As I learned from the interview, Smith was a solid educator and a headstrong person. Both characteristics apply equally appropriately to a modern-day college/university president. I’ve observed that a top-level academic leader must have credentials that draw respect from the often skeptical faculty. And this individual also must have a vision that he/she persistently articulates without any self-doubt. Donors respect clarity of mission and clear, persuasive communication.

* Smith was a heavy drinker, as I learned during the Spy interview. That’s dangerous. Moral authority is critical to any leader’s credibility. The Washington College professor said that Smith’s irascibility had roots in his alcohol consumption. Nonetheless, Smith, a fully functioning alcoholic, achieved significant academic success first in Manhattan and later in Philadelphia and Chestertown.

As I wrote, Dr. Franklin and William Smith developed fierce antipathy toward each other during a time of divisive and passionate loyalties. Both were determined to be right; their deep-set self-confidence conspired against reconciliation, at least not until much later. Smith was still unsparing in his criticism—though at the request of the American Philosophical Society, he served as at the official eulogist at Franklin’s funeral on March 1, 1791.

Then, a year before he died and 12 years after Franklin’s death, the poet Smith attached a scathing verse composed by a Tory sympathizer about Ben Franklin to the eulogy that he reprinted. So much for forgiveness on the part of Smith, also an ordained Anglican minister.

In a 1964 article in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography about the Franklin-Smith quarrel, Ralph L. Ketchum wrote that the two antagonists differed notably in their personalities and public philosophies. Franklin believed in seeking consensus quietly, pursuing agreement “in small steps, rather than controversy over big ones.” According to Ketchum, “Smith’s impulse, on the other hand, was to seek the overwhelming victory…his florid style was designed to stampede his hearers or readers.”

Washington College is a superb asset to the Eastern Shore. Though an imperfect person, William Smith helped found what has become a small liberal arts college well respected beyond the borders of Maryland. A liberal arts education supposedly enables and inspires tolerance and open-mindedness.

His foibles aside, Smith made an educated mark on the Shore.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.

On Having Opinions by George Merrill

I’ve been thinking about opinions, lately. I’ve noticed how time has altered many of my own.

If we have nothing else in life, we have opinions, hundreds if not thousands of them. Sharing our opinions is one of the ways that we affiliate with one another, get fresh perspectives, gain a feeling of the personality we may be dealing with, or just catching up.   Take a dinner party; there will be typically more opinions expressed around the table than there is food on it. If you are unfortunate, you will have been seated next to a person who is opinionated. Such people don’t just have opinions, they have answers. They have answers for questions you’ve never asked or even more for some you’ve never even considered. They never entertain questions of their own that indicate they have any doubts. I’ve found such people possess the remarkable ability to hold court nonstop while showing no physical signs that indicate they have ever taken a breath.

Newspapers and magazines welcome our opinions. They thrive on them. The press sets aside space for readers to text their opinions on just about anything. Opinions are also heard on the air and seen on TV regularly. Politics is particularly popular in opinion pieces. Since politics occupy such a significant place in our common lives, it’s a subject about which almost everyone has an opinion and, I would add, for at least the average citizen like me, marginal knowledge of how it all works.

Of the many blessings of American democracy, one is that we are not expected to actually know anything about the opinions we express, and particularly the issues where politics and religion are concerned. Has not folk wisdom warned us regularly not to discuss religion or politics in polite society? It has always been regarded as perilous terrain: abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Years ago, I remember a couple came to my office seeking help for their marriage. Their complaint: All we can talk about any more is religion and politics. Although I remained cautiously hopeful, their complaint did not suggest an encouraging prognosis for a happy reconciliation.

I have been writing essays since 2002. I have written op-ed pieces in righteous anger only later to cringe when some new data appeared which made it clear to me that I had only a minimal grasp of the complexities expressed in my rant; I’d gone off half-cocked. I must confess there is a kind of fleeting intoxication that occurs, especially if the opinion – at least while I’m expressing it – is as right as rain. The need to be right can be hazardous to our health.

The kind of opinions being expressed can often be identified by the tone and the volume by which they are delivered. Opinions that share general observations are delivered in well-modulated tones that are collegial and inviting. If the opinions being shared are in the service of correcting what somebody sees as my misguided opinion, or trying in some way to win a point, the volume steadily rises while the tone loses any lyrical quality and grows increasingly dissonant.  

Anyone who has raised children, gone through their adolescent years and survived to tell the story, knows that being right has limited value in maintaining a happy family. This truism has found expression in the playful quip: Would you rather be right or stay married? The point here is that there are some things that are critical for our ongoing happiness and being right is rarely one of them.

Not long ago among the letters to the editors in the Star Democrat, there appeared a heated exchange of opinions on whether trickle-down economics works. For a few days, letters shot back and forth as each delivered his opinion with the measured authority and profound conviction. One letter explained that the policy was a success during the Regan era, while marshaling facts and figures to prove it. Another opinion piece quoted facts and figures that demonstrated how it had clearly not succeeded. Who knows the truth of the matter? We are so often left only with opinions, some interesting, some tedious, each defended fiercely, eloquently documented, and at the end of the day, hardly any are reconcilable.

It is both a blessing and a curse in how differently we can see the same things.

I do not propose that any of us should refrain from expressing opinions.  I do suggest that the wise treat their opinions tentatively, the way I once plotted courses during my sailing days. In determining the course, I chose to follow. I’d remain alert to any changes in the atmosphere that may indicate that maintaining my present course will be hazardous. In exchanging opinions without creating a storm and for safe sailing, Miss Manners and Bowditch’s, American Practical Navigator, are a must read.

Opinions, should have an element of flexibility and never be doggedly clung to as if they are eternal. Change is at the heart of all existence.

An old tale tells of the student who went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel distracted; I can’t focus, I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!” “It will pass,” the teacher said. A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so focused, so peaceful!” “It will pass,” the teacher replied.

Time and experience, if our minds remain pliable, are supposed to change our opinions and if not, at least modify them for no other reason that everything is changing. An inability to change them suggests a kind of psycho-spiritual paralysis, or worse still, that rigor mortis has finally set in. American poet, James Russel Lowell, said of such intransigent folk: “The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion.”

It’s really ok to change our minds.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist.  A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.

Op-Ed: The Talbot County Council Voted the Wrong Way on Chapter 190 of the County Code by Naomi Hyman

The Talbot County Comprehensive Plan’s stated goal is “to promote a high quality of life, to preserve the rural character of County and to protect the health, safety and well-being of its citizens in a resilient community.”

The Next Step 190 website notes that the County Council decided to update Chapter 190 of the County Code (the official document that regulates growth, development and preservation within Talbot County) “specifically to ensure that the Comprehensive Plan is implemented in an efficient manner.”

So how did we end up with a Code revision that permits more development, more and louder amplified outdoor music and unlimited short-term rentals—even after an extraordinary level of public comment that overwhelming rejected those changes?

Why were amendments to limit new event venues with amplified outdoor music, maintain our current 55db noise level, limit or otherwise control short-term rentals, and curtail development rejected without serious consideration?

I can only speculate as to the reasons why a consistent majority of the current council chose to vote as they did. But the end result is legislation that is inconsistent with the stated goals of the Comprehensive Plan, the objective of the Chapter 190 code revision and the overwhelming majority of those who attempted to have a voice in the future of our County.

While I don’t always agree with Ms. Price and Mr. Bartlett, as it pertains to 190, I want to commend them for their efforts to serve their constituents and the stated goals of this process in the face of unrelenting opposition.

The opportunity to influence the outcome of these deliberations is over, but there is one more option for public comment, and that is on Election Day. If this is not the future you seek for Talbot County, make your wishes known at the ballot box on November 6th.

Naomi Hyman is a candidate for Talbot County Council and lives in Easton.

Letter to the Editor: Councilwoman Price’s Hypocrisy Knows no Bounds

U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon with distinction and in a non – partisan manner; once noted “everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts”.

Good advice to those who have been reading the never-ending deluge of letters to the editor in various local media from individuals who have expressed their own opinions without facts to back up them up. The only fact that can be verified is an intense dislike of the following members of the Talbot County Council – Jennifer Williams, Corey Pack and Chuck Callahan. This fact was especially apparent in comments made on one issue currently before the County Council.

That issue is the vote on Next Step 190; a vote on the full revision of the zoning code which is almost 300 pages in length. As is the case with virtually every relatively complex and controversial land use and development matter, the public is always best served with thoughtful consideration. Unfortunately, opinions have been expressed that Council members Williams, Pack and Callahan have taken unprecedented steps to delay decisions on this matter. This simply isn’t true.

It is and has been the policy of Council to defer a vote until the next meeting upon the request of ANY Council member. Up until the August 28, 2018 Council meeting, every Council member had respectfully agreed to observe that long standing practice. That all changed when Councilwoman Laura Price decided unilaterally to disregard that policy and publicly denounced fellow Council member Chuck Callahan for not being ready to vote.

Her lack of respect for and civility to a colleague was disturbing, particularly since she herself has made use of this policy in the past when every other Council member but Councilwoman Price was ready and wanted to vote on an issue. In this respect, Councilwoman Price’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. This hypocrisy rivals what we are witnessing in the halls of Congress where disrespect and the advancement of one’s own political interests come before time honored and useful rules of engagement.

Is this really the type of person we need on the Talbot County Council?

Sears Wheeler
Easton

Letter to the Editor: County before Party

I am a registered Republican. I always vote for the best candidate in any election, Republican or Democrat. This is particularly important in local elections. In Talbot County, Republican Laura Price and Democrat Pete Lesher will get my vote in the November 6 election. There is no question that they are both intelligent, thoughtful and committed to maintaining the rural countryside that makes Talbot County such a desirable place in which to live. Laura (along with retiring Councilman, Dirck Bartlett) has been most diligent recently in making sure sewer lines in the County do not promote unwanted growth in the County.

In her eight years on the County Council Laura has also been exceptionally thorough in studying the County budget, promoting reasonable, balanced proposals. Pete has done an outstanding job on the Easton Town Council for 12 years as part of a team that continues to make Easton a great place to live. County before party should be the thought process in deciding what candidates are best for Talbot County.

Jane Bollman
Easton

Letter to the Editor: Panic Attack? Here’s The Story

Yesterday the Spy published a fascinating letter from Mr. Leon Sheer, husband of the Chairwoman of the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, entitled “Vote Against Laura Price” and expressing outrage against her, a fellow Republican. Given the identity of the author, I believe most would reasonably interpret that letter as virtually an official manifesto from the GOP Central Committee.

Mr. Sheer claimed that Ms. Price “has decided to attack fellow Council members” (all of whom are other Republicans); he accused her of disloyalty “to the Republican Party;” and he urged Republicans to vote for Jennifer Williams and all other republican candidates and “anybody else except Price.” Referring to “those attacks,” he asserts that they are “dirty politics and should not be tolerated in our County.” Wow.

Here is why Mr. Sheer’s vitriolic attack on Ms. Price is not just wrong, but 180 degrees wrong.

BACKSTORY:

I am the person who brought to the County Council meeting on Tuesday evening five (5) clipboards, each with a sign-up sheet announcing a “Coalition to Unseat Jennifer Williams and her allies, Pack and Callahan,” and inviting people who were interested to sign up. (See photo attached.) I warrant to all that neither Laura Price nor any other living soul (my wife included) knew anything about this–either the “coalition effort” or the actual sign-up sheets. For better or worse, I acted on my own initiative consulting no one else—certainly not Ms. Price, who in all likelihood would have tried to dissuade me. And I took these clipboards to the Council meeting for somewhat the same reason Willie Sutton hung around banks.

For many reasons (to be discussed in coming weeks), I believe Ms. Williams and her constant allies are pursuing many policies detrimental to Talbot County and its citizens in the long term. And I believe the only responsible action in this democracy is to take positive action to un-elect them. Isn’t that so? I think Jennifer and Corey and Chuck would acknowledge that it is not personal–in the sense of being motivated by any antipathy to them as individuals—but it is serious and motivated by different viewpoints about substantive issues local to Talbot County.

Incidentally, the infamous clipboards were not distributed in a surreptitious manner. The purpose could not have been more clearly labeled, and they were intended to get to everyone in the room—knowing some (most) would be interested in linking up and a few would not. I had my name and phone number on the boards–so that they might work there way back to me…and all did. (Indeed, a majority in the room signed on.)

One of those who did not agree was the Executive Director of the Mid Shore Board of Realtors, who took a quick snapshot of the sign-up sheet. That snapshot promptly went to the overseers of the local party, leading to yesterday’s screed. Irresponsibly, though my name and number was on the material, no one from the republican central committee contacted me to make any inquiry prior to blasting Ms. Price. I would be surprised if they asked her about it either.

IT’S NOT ABOUT PARTY:

And that takes me to the “republican” thing. This effort to defeat Ms. Williams and others has nothing to do with party. Nothing. The Council’s issues are all local issues, with Jennifer leading in the wrong direction (IMHO), Chuck and Corey in support. Do the Sheers really think the people angry with this Council are all Democrats? Registered republicans, trying to enjoy an evening on the deck, do they not hear noise at 65 decibels? Are there no republicans who live along our County roads where sewer lines will soon be run….or is it that such republicans favor new subdivisions, while only their democrat neighbors don’t? And STRs? Maybe putting a commercial use in the middle of a neighborhood only irritates registered democrats, and only devalues homes owned by D’s. Talbot’s Comprehensive Plan which Ms. Williams and allies try to undercut whenever possible, was the product 2 years of hard work by engaged citizens of both parties, and many independents too.

Unlike the Sheers, I believe the people of Talbot County recognize that this Council election is not about ideology or party issues, but practical problems demanding thoughtful pragmatic solutions reflecting the input and opinions of citizens and a fidelity to the Comp Plan. If the republicans put up 5 candidates committed to that, then bully for them—vote for those candidates! Same with the Dems. But fact is, Williams, Callahan and Pack  have demonstrated an indifference if not opposition to the principles of the Comp Plan, and a single-minded intention to ignore the opinions and input of engaged citizens. So the effort to unseat them is altogether bipartisan, and no one in this coalition cares who is and R and who is a D or and Independent. We just want to protect our County and have it grow and prosper in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

THE PARTY’S ATTACK ON LAURA PRICE:

All that said, look again at the bitter attack made by Mr. Sheer on Laura Price:

It was not Ms. Price who “decided to attack fellow Council members.” Apparently it never occurred to the party bosses that mere citizens could think of taking action–even though the meeting room was once again filled to capacity with angry citizens whose opinions were acknowledged by Laura Price and ignored by Williams and her constant allies.

How is it that Ms. Price was disloyal “to the Republican Party?” Had the republican central committee put out some sort of directive as to how to vote on Bill 1401, including the noise and STR amendments which went against most citizens’ positions?
And “dirty tricks that should not be tolerated in our County?” What can a thinking person even say?

Finally, appreciate the irony that the husband of the Chairwoman of the Republican Central Committee, without inquiring fully about the events in question, would launch a vehement and unqualified attack on a particular Republican council person alleging disloyalty based on a misunderstood attack that Ms. Price hadn’t even known about. Some demonstration of loyalty, eh? Almost Shakespearean.

Dan Watson
Talbot County

PS–I’ve heard second hand that some readers, on the basis of yesterday’s attack piece, have sent nasty emails to Ms. Price, and at least one supporter requested that their contribution to her campaign be refunded. In fairness, I do hope the information above might trigger some reconsideration.

Letter to the Editor: Laura Price Must Be Re-elected

A response to the highly partisan, nasty, and untrue letter written by Leon Sheer is required. I recognize that his approach is “Republicans above all else”, and he apparently believes Laura Price has not been towing the line, and therefore she should be defeated.

First, if Ms. Price has strayed from the Republican Party line, then the Republicans of Talbot County have strayed from what’s important to the residents of Talbot County. Second, Ms. Price hasn’t attacked her fellow Council Members. Those of us who have attended a number of Council meetings have been dismayed by how rudely and dismissively both Councilwoman Price and Councilman Bartlett have been treated by Council President Williams. Councilwoman Price is usually the ONLY Council member who takes notes, demonstrates a deep understanding of the budget, and other “in the weeds” details of the Comprehensive Plan as well as the specific issues that were under consideration in the Step 190 process.

Councilwoman Price has been the leader in offering innovative, practical, and needed ideas, bills and amendments. Her ideas are often shut out by Jennifer Williams and her supporters Corey Pack and Chuck Callahan. We need Councilmembers who listen to and support the views of County residents.

Local government should not be about political parties. There are talented members in both major political parties. Talbot County has thousands of unaffiliated voters. They are watching and listening to what has transpired in this Council session. The election should be about choosing the candidates who are the most appropriate representatives of Talbot County’s residents, regardless of their political affiliation. We need to be able to function in a bipartisan way that will represent a range of views. We all live in this wonderful County and should focus on all the best candidates, regardless of party when we go to the polls in November. Spreading hate, mistrust , and untrue allegations is not useful.

Laura Price must be re-elected. She is the only Council member running for re-election who has studied the issues, offered substantive and needed amendments, and has withstood disrespectful treatment from her Council colleagues without losing her focus and professionalism. She listens to all constituents and acts appropriately as our representative.

There are strong Democratic candidates who will round out the new Council and represent Talbot County residents on both sides of the aisle who want to keep it rural, preserve our critical areas, and keep our residents safe. Your vote counts!

Julie Susman
Royal Oak